Archive for August 30, 2012
This piece got mentioned in an earlier blog post comment Mylène, and I wanted to make sure that it got highlighted. It’s a wonderful post about what really leads to an enduring relationship with a subject matter. There are some great lessons here for computing education. Media Computation fares well when considered from this perspective. I just used MediaComp as a way of introducing graduate students to Python, and they puzzled (for example) over why sounds came out the way that they did. I thought it worked as a way of getting the students to start reasoning with Python.
An ounce of perplexity is worth a pound of engagement. Give me a student with a question in her head, one that math can help her answer, over a student who’s been engaged by a poster or a celebrity testimonial or the promise of a career. Engagement fades. Perplexity endures.
Perhaps it comes to this: rather than remembering your own tastes as a twelve-year-old, empathize with the tastes of a twelve-year-old who isn’t anything like you, one who has experienced only humiliation and failure in mathematics. What does math have to offer that student?